ELF strikes again


The Earth Liberation Front is keeping busy. On Jan. 16, it claimed responsibility for an arson fire in southern Oregon - its seventh attack in just over two years.

On Dec. 27, a fire destroyed the corporate headquarters of U.S. Forest Industries in Medford, Ore. Less than a month later, the Associated Press office in Portland received a fax from the Earth Liberation Front.

"To celebrate the holidays, we decided on a bonfire," read the fax. "Unfortunately for U.S. Forest Industries, it was their corporate headquarters ... This action is payback and it is a warning, to all others responsible we do not sleep and we wont (sic) quit."

The group has also claimed responsibility for an October fire in Vail, Colo., which caused about $12 million in damages to ski facilities and a restaurant (HCN, 11/9/98). After each fire, the group sent a press release through Craig Rosebraugh, an animal-rights activist in Portland, Ore., who says he does not know the members of the group.

"I can only speculate," says Rosebraugh, when asked about the group's reasons for singling out U.S. Forest Industries. "It's most likely in response to, or in addition to, pressure from the environmentalists who have been protesting (U.S. Forest Industries') logging in Colorado."

The company owns a mill in southern Colorado, and plans to log spruce, pine and fir trees on the privately owned Taylor Ranch in Colorado's San Luis Valley.

Members of Ancient Forest Rescue, a Colorado environmental group fighting the Taylor Ranch logging, adamantly oppose the Earth Liberation Front's tactics and say the attacks have made their job even harder. "They're not helping us at all," says Jeff Berman, a volunteer with the group. "They're only damaging our ability to raise awareness about these issues. Whoever they are, I wish they'd get the hell out of Colorado."

*Michelle Nijhuis

High Country News Classifieds